While I’ve already spent some time discussing the dangerous ways the media sexualizes women and girls, and how it gives the false impression that to be attractive, popular and interesting you must be skinny and hyper-feminine, today I want to switch things up little and talk about the body acceptance movement (also called “size acceptance” or “fat acceptance”), which attempts to combat the negative stereotypes around women and men who are conventionally considered overweight or obese.
One thing bears mentioning upfront: Fighting for body acceptance does not mean promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. In fact, according to Linda Bacon’s landmark book, Health at Every Size, and other recent studies, dieting is often ineffective at handling obesity, and sometimes the extreme measures used to combat obesity–surgery, liposuction, aggressive exercise programs–are more harmful than the extra weight. Not to mention that it’s far from true that all thin people are healthy. The myth that skinny equals healthy is rooted in our cultural obsession with weight and the media’s idolization of rail-thin actors and models.
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